Cookery Editor, Sue, experiments baking using turkey eggs instead of chicken eggs for cupcakes.
Following on from my post about visiting Kelly’s Turkeys last week, as well as being given some delicious turkey sausages to take home with me, I was also given 4 turkey eggs to take home to try cooking with. I was told they made light fluffy cakes so I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes.
The first thing I noticed that was different to chicken eggs was that they were harder to break as the membrane just inside the shell was much stronger and tougher than chicken eggs. Once cracked, each egg was about 60g, so just slightly larger than a chicken egg, and I weighed them as I used a standard sponge recipe of using equal weights of caster sugar, butter and self raising flour to egg, with a little milk added to loosen the mixture and a few drops of vanilla extract for flavour.
The cakes did come out well, and rose evenly with a golden colour. They did peak slightly in the centre, so I could have kept them flatter if I’d cooked them at a slightly lower temperature or added more milk to the cake batter, but as I was going to be piping a swirl of buttercream on them the tops would be hidden.
One of the piping tubes that I now use so often that I keep one in my kitchen drawer at home, rather than in a special box for piping tubes, is the Jem stainless steel cupcake and donut filler, which is available from most cake decorating equipment supply shops or from Hobbycraft (which is where I bought mine) – and I leave mine in the packet it came in to try to help prevent it getting damaged by other items in the drawer. What I use this piping tube for is to put a filling into the cupcakes so that when people bite into them they get a surprise, as I find most people don’t expect a filling as well as the buttercream on top.
In our current (3rd September) issue of Woman’s Weekly there is a recipe for Lemon Meringue cupcakes where I’ve filled the cupcakes with lemon curd rather than jam, which is also delicious! I prefer to use a smooth jam, so in these turkey-egg cupcakes I used a seedless raspberry jam, but you could just sieve your favourite jam to remove any bits, as I find a smooth jam is easier to pipe into the cakes because if there are any bits in the jam they can block the piping tube. I press the tube into the cake and then squeeze the piping bag until I can start to see the top of the cake rising, then I stop squeezing it and pull the piping tube out.
A little of the jam may seep out onto the top of the cakes, but that will be covered with a swirl of buttercream. I then made some quick rose decorations by pressing some coloured sugarpaste into a silcione rose mould and some green sugarpaste rose leaves using the PME small veined rose leaf cutter. I piped a swirl of buttercream onto each cake, using the Jem 1M piping tube and then stuck a rose and 3 leaves on top of each.
And this is how the cakes looked when they were cut in half. The most important thing must be the flavour, and I must admit that it was difficult to taste any difference between the cakes made with the turkey eggs to chicken eggs, but the texture was very light and fluffy so I definately wouldn’t hesitate to use them again – if they were more readily available.
With regards to buying turkey eggs, I found that Clarence Court supply turkey eggs which are sold in Waitrose stores, but only for quite a short season. They’re not as readily available as chicken eggs as turkeys don’t lay as many eggs. They’re usually available from April to June, although this year, as the weather has been so mild, Clarence Court were supplying them up until about 3 weeks ago. I was interested to see that the Clarence Court eggs are “Plumpie breed” from turkey breeder Paul Kelly of Kellys Turkeys – and that’s where my turkey eggs came from too. So if you’re interested in cooking with turkey eggs, and don’t have a local farm selling them, then look out for the Clarence Court eggs in Waitrose stores from next April.